Teamsters protested a hazardous materials seminar run by Nexeo Solutions today. Workers distributed leaflets exposing the chemical company’s irresponsible management practices that are endangering communities and workers at Nexeo distribution sites in the United States.
Since private equity titan TPG Capital took over Texas-based Nexeo, the company has been the subject of safety complaints and has agreed to pay thousands of dollars to settle with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for mishandling hazardous chemicals.
OSHA cited Nexeo’s warehouse in Tewksbury, Mass., for subjecting employees to hazardous conditions “likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” Employees were “exposed to fire hazards created by the incompatible storage of flammable liquids and organic peroxides,” the agency said.
On June 18, a HAZMAT fire at the Nexeo facility in Willow Springs, Ill., forced the evacuation of the site. Workers are concerned for their own safety and that of the surrounding community.
“It is unconscionable that Nexeo’s new owners would be taking such risks with people’s livelihoods. Our members and the communities that surround Nexeo facilities deserve better,” said Neil Messino, Business Representative at Teamsters Local 705.
TPG’s corporate raiders have also loaded Nexeo with $600 million in debt to inflate its investment returns. It also slashed Nexeo workers’ pension and insurance plans, threatening employees’ retirement security and health.
Dominic Chiovare, President of Teamsters Local 70 in Oakland, Calif., said, “We want TPG to restore fairness to our members—put safety first and ensure adequate investment in our communities.”
Nexeo Solutions provides distribution and logistics services for customers in the chemicals, plastics, composites and environmental services industries. The company, based in The Woodlands, Texas, was purchased in a highly leveraged deal by TPG Capital, a private equity firm with $51.5 billion in capital under management.
Local 705 represents Nexeo workers in Willow Springs. The Teamsters also represent workers at plants in Fairfield, Calif.; Louisville, Ky.; Twinsburg, Ohio; Chicopee, Mass.; and St. Louis.
Teamsters Local 705 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America's premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.